Written 24 February 2001
The pain started in his shoulder. It was perhaps a bit more than an ache, but not much more. He wasn't sure how long it had been there before he noticed it.
At first he thought he must have bruised it on something, but as the day went on he realized it had migrated to his other shoulder. He was mildly worried; could this be the first sign of a heart attack or a stroke? But it didn't take long for him to convince himself that it was probably fine and he should just ignore it. It only hurt a little bit; how bad could it be?
After a few weeks he noticed that it varied in intensity. Occasionally it would get more intense and at other times it seemed to retreat, almost as if it was hiding. He filed this information away and forgot about it.
Then one morning he realized there were two of these spots, one on his right elbow and the other on his back. They seemed to move about independently. He had gotten so used to having the one that it was almost a comforting presence, but the arrival of the new one had him spooked. He made an appointment to see his doctor the next day.
Of course when he went to the doctor the pains retreated and the doctor could find nothing wrong. She recommended that he see a psychiatrist instead, and he did, but to no avail. After a while, having noticed no other ill effects, he decided whatever it was was basically harmless and discontinued treatment.
The spots of pain continued to multiply until his entire body was covered with fuzzy, low-level pain. But by this point he had become so good at ignoring it that it hardly affected his daily life at all.
Eventually he died, of course, and the flood of pain was released on the world.
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